“So, do you have kids?”
I hear this question every time I meet someone new. Every time. It doesn’t bother me to be asked – I get it. Most married women my age have kids. It’s a normal question. I struggle to answer it in a way that puts the other person at ease, but there’s usually an awkward, “Oh.” when I reply lightly, “No, no kids.”
My husband and I are unable to have children, biologically. Honestly, this hasn’t been a sadness for us. Sure, when I was little I imagined I’d be a mom one day. But, as an adult, I’ve never had a strong desire to have children. We’re happy and content with our life together – just the two of us. We’ve considered adoption, but due to various reasons (not all of which are mine to share) we haven’t pursued that route.
Recently, on social media, I saw pictures of a group of friends on a mom/daughter outing. A smiling group of happy moms with their young daughters. My first response was, “Wonderful! I love that intentionality! It’s so important to have that focused time as mom and daughter! And, how fun to do that in a group!” Then, as I looked at more pictures, my heart began to crack and hurt. Jealousy, perhaps. I heard a little, sad voice say, “That will never be me. I’ll never experience that. I’ll never be included in that space. I don’t fit anywhere.” I told myself again how I’m missing out on a huge life experience: pregnancy. I’ll never know how that miraculous event feels.
I shush that sad voice. I tell it: “This has been our choice. No choice is perfect – there are gains and losses with every choice.” My husband and I will often sigh with contentment and say, “I love our life together.” We’re happy – our lives are full and rich in relationships. We wouldn’t want it any different than it is.
One time I was wrestling with some guilt over not pursing adoption. There are so many children who need a good, safe home. My pastor at the time said, “Do you feel called to adopt?” Her question suddenly halted all the swirling guilt. I replied, “No, actually. I don’t feel called to adopt. It’s a ‘should’.” Whenever I feel conflicted or second-guess our choice not to pursue adoption, I remember this little conversation, answer the question again honestly, and allow the burden of false guilt to lift.
Life is not a one size fits all. My life choices are not the only way to live, but they are our way to live. It fits us and how God wired us individually and as a couple. And hopefully, we’re becoming more like Christ in the process. Thanks be to God.
Have you wrestled with sadness or guilt over any non-traditional life choices? How do you come to peace? What voices of the past or present are informing your sadness or guilt?